Moto X customizations revealed: colors, engravings, wallpapers — NOT internal hardware


Moto X back

Yesterday we saw Motorola’s latest print ad teasing the arrival of their upcoming Moto X device as part of their new “Google owned” makeover. In the ad, there wasn’t a picture of said device or even its “must have” features, only that it was being assembled in the US, and the real kicker that got everyone’s undies in a bunch: a device that users would be able to “design” themselves.

What did this mean exactly? Well, no one knew for sure. Many suspected that they’d be able to customize a device with the appropriate specs to meet their needs (and wallets), as well as a few color options. Well, if the latest news coming out of ABC pans out, you may be left disappointed.

According to ABC News, Moto X buyers will be able to hop onto Motorola’s upcoming website where they will be able to choose a variety of color options — one for the back of the device, and another for the “trim.” From there, users can engrave the device with a name or special message, whatever they like. After that, they’ll be able to upload a photo to be used as a wallpaper. And…. well, that’s about it.

Of course, nothing is set in stone but we’d imagine those mid-range specs we’ve been hearing so much about are true, and will be the only model available for the Moto X. Of course, this could leave spec chasers and hardcore Android fans looking elsewhere. Anyone disappointed by this (alleged) news?

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Seems like a way too lame of an idea when you are taking out full page ads in the biggest newspapers on Independence Day. Doesn’t add up to me. I would be very disappointed.

    1. It’s the only device you can buy that allows for this, which makes it “different.” Think of it as a marketing move more than anything.

      The average consumer doesn’t care about specs, but they do care about the aesthetics of a phone. Even with 2012 specs, it will perform well enough for most people’s needs.

      This isn’t a device for techies. Motorola will offer the Ultra for those kinda people (myself included).

      1. I’m starting to think more and more people do care about specs or at least knowing what is the latest and greatest according to the their friends (sgs4). Hasn’t every android phone with some kind of gimmick failed over and over again? I’m also feeling that the Ultra is one of Motorola’s final products without Google influence. Almost making them two different products from two different companies and not making them related to each other at all.

  2. Ultra Maxx is my only hope.

    1. Honestly, I’m hoping Motorola has an Ultra Maxx planned for other carriers as well. I said it in a previous post, but it looks like that will be Motorola’s high-end device.

      1. With the advent of batteries like those in the Note 2, GS4, and even (dare I say it) the Lucid 2, I’m suspect that the Ultra HD will have a Maxx sized battery by default with no need for a separate model. Moto (Razr era Moto that is) seems to focus on build quality, antenna, and battery. With a name like Ultra, I’d wager that their focus on battery will eliminate Maxx as a model.

        1. Also, from a sales perspective, the Maxx was a hard sell to an average consumer (ie not insane battery use and drainage in their history). Being able to say “Motorola eliminated the need for a super-battery model by making EVERY phone have crazy battery life” is the kind of sale Moto goes for.

  3. Well, if that is all, that is way disappointing.

    I can customize the color of the trim and pick a color for the back that I engrave. And then cover all of it with a case.

    But, I also get to send them an image to use as wallpaper. Which is something that I can do with any Android phone once I get it.

  4. Well the hype is over and I’m disapointed

    1. On the back, the back reads “Everything Is Bigger In Texas.”

      It’s kinda like when Microsoft put the words “Hello From Seattle” on the back of the Zune.

      It also comes pre-loaded with pictures of Texas Architecture. The first 500 sold come with a signed autograph of Governor Rick Perry shaking hands with George W Bush. It’s sure to be a hit. I hope to get the autographed one.

      1. I’ll pay extra to not have to use one signed by either of them.

      2. That would be great if he was Micheal Jordan and i lived in Texas lol

  5. not disapointed at all

  6. I had no expectations, so I couldn’t really be disappointed by this, but I saw it coming. There was no way they were going to allow hardware customizations. Everyone who thought they would was smoking some good stuff that they need to share with other folks.

  7. I do think this is a good turn around point for Motorola. For the longest time it seemed that Verizon was the only carrier that had the good Motorola phones. I think this concept of personalization is appealing.

  8. If you’re disappointed, you have only yourself to blame. It was never a realistic proposition to have the ability to customize the hardware. The complexity involved, the corresponding custom software build needed to make the phone prohibitively expensive to the point they wouldn’t sell but a few to the most insane “have to have a one of a kind phone” billionaires.

    Customization was only ever going to be cosmetic. Common sense should have told you that.

    1. Yea but they lead us to believe it would be “designed” by us, how is picking colors that are already set in stone leting us design anything ? Last time i checked a lot of manufacturers offer a multitude of colors

      1. But… Engraving! Custom wallpapers! /s

      2. Really?….care to list the “manufacturers that offer a multitude of colors”

        1. Lol Samsung, care to list the definition of “design” ? Alot of us had doubts from the rumors that they would give us internal customization or external design due to manufacturing obstacals but then they realesed their ad campaign leading us to believe it was true

          1. You said “manufacturers” and technically only Samsung releases there multitude of colors after months of the device’s release. Plus the colors aren’t in every carrier or in some cases not in some parts of the world. Now the rumor hill on the Moto X went too high, everybody knows that. And even assuming after the recent ad that theres internal customization is a bit of a rush of judgement. Looking at current technology, customization of internal configurations is limited at best to storage. Until there’s affordable and possibly user replacement components don’t expect a mass consumer based smartphone with that feature at the time being. But saying there’s “manufacturers that offer a multitude of colors” is saying too much. Especially with many manufacturers just pulling the Scarface in every device announcement. :P

          2. lol you addressed everything but the actual point of my comment, ill make it a bit simpler and try not to complicate it.

            This is directly from their Ad:

            The first smartphone that you can design yourself. Because today you should have the freedom to design the things in your life to be as unique as you are.


            Designed by You, Made in the USA

            They told us that the phone was going to be designed by us which is a lie because all their letting us do is pick from a variety of predetermined colors that they have already set in stone. so we don’t design anything.

            Now as for the original commenter we are replying to, its easy to predict something after it has already happened and make everyone feel like a bunch of fools, hell i can predict the Superbowl winners after the Superbowl as well and i can pretend I knew it from the very starts, theirs a term for it, its called “Hindsight Bias” .

            Sure the internal customization was a long stretch and so was the external design rumor (we all doubted it), but after they put an Ad out in fine print that said their letting us design it what did you think ?

          3. I understand you point, and it was not complicated at all. I guess you don’t understand design. Which is the plan to produce a look and function of a object.

            Now these are rumors, that’s first. And we heard from it being the Jesus phone to internal customization to external customization and mid range specs. So far nothing is confirmed but it seems like people though they were able make there own phone especially by pushing the word design a bit to far.

            Motorola idea is just allow customers to design the phone in their “way”. I believe in their “way” , they meant designing to externally. You can choose the colors of you back plate, the color of the trim around the phone and engraving of some kind. This is considered design by companies that allow user to customize their devices. Colorware is a company, that allow users to design their devices with different color schemes which is similar to what Motorola may be offering for the Moto X.Heck, even companies such like Case-Mate allow customization on cases, say design your own case. You dont choose what the case is made out of or how strong the case is. You only choose what colors you can play or picture you can use to design your case.

            See many people are looking to create their own phones not design them. They want certain parts in their phones, like ram, processor, display, battery, storage, etc. This is similar to many PC companies offer and they call create or customize your own PC.

            So if they said created or customized by you and made in USA. Then i agree this information about being only external customization would be disappointing, since this is only considered as designing your phone, But at the time there is no manufacturer that is allow this design your phone implementation. The only company that offers this to mobile phone is Colorware, and they’re very popular because of it.

          4. But we don’t get to design the colors either, the colors are pre selected (60 different colors), and all we do is choose from those options, on colorware, you get to choose which palette of colors, blend them and do whatever you want like you would on Photoshop. But you are right, it hasnt been released yet and this is all speculation so i guess we should jsut wait and see. it would be sort of cool though if we could purchase numerous back plates and switch them out.

          5. At the VERY most I would have expected three models of the phone, one high, one mid, one low. Each would have the exact same shape, and design to it (for cases and such). When people reading their paper on sunday morning read “design your own phone” they jump to colors and aesthetics. How in the world did you expect anything more than aesthetic customization? Imagine all of the possible complications to having one phone with so many varying factors? They would have so many products to stock. And keeping track of which model you had for roms and kernels? Right….

            This all plays up to marketing. Motorola says design your phone and people hear one of two things. Either “pick your colors out”, or “choose every aspect of your phone from the camera down to the amount of RAM”. The truth is that Moto never said you can change out parts like some sort of Lego phone (which it would have to be for production). They just said design.

            Don’t be disappointed that they are not doing what YOU wanted them to do. be disappointed in yourself for thinking that something of that scale was actually possible.

        2. I could get an iPod in a bunch of colors and have it engraved.

          1. We’re not talking about mp3 players in the article, if that was the case. I wouldn’t made my first comment since many other manufacturers obviously many many colors for other products…

          2. yeah I got ya but all the iPod touch is missing is phone capabilities it would be no problem to make an iPhone the same. all I’m saying is this isn’t ground breaking or revolutionary and is a big disappointment.

      3. If you’ve been reading articles here you know that phones have to pass through FCC testing and carrier testing before they’re released. How on Earth could anyone offer hardware customization when any changes could trigger a (very expensive) retest? And would they really test each customized unit individually?

        Design had to mean in the artistic sense, not in the technical sense.

        1. FCC retesting each customized unit individually? Huh?

          Ever buy a computer online (or in-store for that matter)? You can customize the hardware to your hearts content. They don’t retest every computer you customize. Ever buy a car? You can customize most cars to your hearts content too. What would the big deal be doing the same with a phone?

          1. cell phones are communication devices regulated by the FCC, computers and cars are not :)

      4. Because marketing.

    2. That is amazing hindsight! :-P

      1. You might want to go back and read what I posted yesterday, and several weeks ago.

        1. nobody is disappointed abut customizing hardware, were disappointed we don’t get to design the device as promised by Motorola in their ad, which nobody saw coming since we were all lead to believe we would.

          1. Actually yes, you do get to custom design the look of your phone. If they really let you pick from 60 colors for the back and trim, that most certainly is designing your own phone look in my opinion.

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          But boy in the future I sure would love to choose between a 4.3,
          4.7,and 5 inch screen version.. Color options. 2 Different processor
          tiers and maybe 2 different camera options.

  9. Lame, that’s not exactly “designing it yourself”. I wasted thinking more like ordering a laptop from Dell where you have options for every category deciding whether you want a cheap budget phone vs a superphone

  10. Not surprised that they wouldn’t let you customize the internals. The phone isn’t for nerds, it’s for regular Joe Schmo who only cares if it can run Angry Birds. I don’t see it as a disappointment either since the specs were already rumored about a month ago. This will be an inexpensive phone that will appeal to the masses.

  11. I hope they skip the pentile screen on this one.

  12. If the lower (and let’s get serious, it’s not that low) specs mean better battery life, then they would be welcome. The customisation is ok, and it would be good to see them going further in future. I suspect the customisation theme will extend to the software, with the sensors the CEO hinted at helping you to customise the behavior of your device in multiple situations as well as the exterior. Motorola already offer this with the SmartActions, so it seems logical they’ll take it further. There is a huge chunk of the market who don’t want 5″ screens and sub-1 day battery life. Put out something you can comfortably hold in one hand that has great battery life and they are onto a winner.

  13. haha. Motorola (su)X

  14. i have seen similar customization from apple (ipods) and sony built to order vaios but this is new for smartphones.

  15. This was it? *thump* that’s the sound of you dropping the ball Motorol/Google. Hype machine off.

  16. Lame.

  17. LOL!!! OK I take back the props I offered yesterday. What a joke…

  18. I don’t get it. I got an HTC DNA recently for FREE, with superior specs (quad core, 5″ full HD, 2 gig RAM), and yet that phone is soundly ignored while this thing is hyped for a presumably “attractive price point”?

  19. With the amount of different phones each manufacturer releases every year I don’t think it’s completely implausible that in addition to aesthetics they could have optional storage and processors. But oh well I wasn’t really planning to get it unless it was completely awesome anyway and sounds like my now outdated GS3 will suit my needs just fine for now.

    1. You are so right. Got my GS3 in December 2012 and my contract ended four days ago. I’m just going to wait. I need something truly amazing to spend money on. Oh the hell with this I’ll just save the money for a PS4.

  20. Dead on arrival

  21. Dell let me spec out my computer in 94 and I can’t build a phone with unique internal specs? Don’t tell me it ain’t possible, or they its an unsustainable business model.

    1. A computer is made of parts readily available in seperate parts. You can go to your local PC parts store and buy any major component and upgrade it yourself. Those tools are there. You also have a good bit more room in a laptop, you need at least 13″ diagonally because it has a screen on the upper half. So exchanging parts from one to the other for the manufacturer is relatively easy. On a smaller scale (mobile phones) parts go out of style relatively quick. So being able to choose different processors would be rather difficult. Look at some pictures of the motherboard on some newer smartphones. All of those chips on there are set a specific way to maximize space, limit excess paths, and ultimately to get it all in line. A phone line with multiple possibilities for components would be very difficult to design and classify. Not to mention the amount of testing that occurs before a phone is released is immense, so in adding just one change in the plans makes testing time twice as long. As for battery size (most people were asking for that feature as well) they cannot make case buying difficult. They need a unified product that is easy to capitalize on. Camera sensors wouldn’t be too difficult to change out, same with memory (storage not RAM). But making those two things customizable but nothing else would be pointless.

      1. A SmartPhone IS a computer a small one at that. there really is no reason that it can’t be done aside from legal reasons and compatibility within the carrier networks. If universal parts are created it can be done well heck the raspberry pi is a great example of this. I don’t know if you realize it but these parts are made from the same companies that make computer parts its just a matter of not having a market for it and the parts not being mass produced for consumers. A problem looking forward may just be the casing looking forward but of course that can be solved by additional manufacturers… Its not difficult its just possibly expensive and the resources aren’t all there yet for a regular average joe. It may be difficult for some to get it thin but why on earth would that be a issue? Why should that stop anybody? Watches are made up of many small parts but that doesn’t stop peoplebusinesses from making them.

        1. OK so when I say computer think desktop, laptop, media center, server… big stuff. Smartphones, while they are definitely a thing that computes, not a computer for my reference above. You can purchase just a processor for a desktop computer and replace that component as long as you have knowledge of what part to replace it with. Main reason that is possible would be the fact that there is a socket system in place to make that easier. Phones are a long way from that. By long I mean not going to happen. I am not sure if you realize but the raspberry pi is not upgradeable or customizable in the same sense of what we are discussing. You can add things to it through the connections. When it comes to mainboard components… they are fixed to the PCB. I am not sure if you realize this but the reason your phone is nice and thin is because it is not made to be opened and tinkered with. Look at the smallest and thinnest devices, most of them have little to no screws and are held together with mostly glue and pressure fittings. Those processors and flash memory chips are machine soldered to the board. Parts are already mass produced, but they are mass produced for the OEMs. I have no doubt it can be done. I am saying that the benefit of swappable parts would come at the cost of form factor. Expect to have a large clunky phone with a lot of free space inside.

          Oh and as a side note… Watches came into existence in the 16th century. Cellular phones in the 20th century. Smartphones in the 21st century. I think it is safe to say people have had a bit more time to be making custom watches considering the first people to actually make them considered it a profession. Same as instruments, fine suits, and jewelry.

    2. You didn’t have to pay the FCC to approve your Dell.

  22. hoping for at least 2GB of RAM and updated processors like the snapdragon 600 or 800..not last years

  23. Goodbye, Moto.

  24. Actually, I think it’s brilliant. The majority of smart phone buyers are average everyday users. The same type of people who buy iPhones. This means they are the perfect customer for this phone. This type of customization is perfect for them.

  25. “Told ya!!!!”

  26. The MOTO part of the title was bad enough, now this, forget this MOTOcrap.

  27. I hope it lives up too the name if the specs are under determined I’ll be very disappointed. Also they need too stop kissing VERIZON ASS

  28. I was not expecting to be able to build a phone like a computer or something. But this is cool though. Color options are very enticing to the general public. But I wonder when we will be able to customize a phone like a computer from dell.. I guess the average user is not as interested in that as us.. And maybe it has to do with phone sales happening in the store after folks get to play with them.

    But boy in the future I sure would love to choose between a 4.3, 4.7,and 5 inch screen version.. Color options. 2 Different processor tiers and maybe 2 different camera options.

  29. I want mine to look like an iPhone

  30. How has no one mentioned that uploading a picture to use as wallpaper is the dumbest customization option possible? Every phone has been able to do that for the past how many years now?

  31. there is the thought of if it was custom hardware, then wouldn’t each hardware configuration need it’s own set of rom’s?

  32. People are all up in arms that Motorola didn’t make the Lego phone everyone was expecting. Only reason you were expecting it to be that way is because it sounded like a really cool idea. I will admit that if the phone turned out to be that I would have been excited and bought into the ecosystem. But I have no doubt in my mind that the phone would be an utter failure. People like us are not who companies market to. If you think that Apple got where they are by offering options? No they say “this is our phone. Buy it, it is good.” and people listen.

    I am in no way an Apple fan, but they have quite a lot of users. They also get quite a lot of support from developers in the way of exclusive apps, features, and timed releases. They don’t even tell you what processor it has (unless you count the “AX” naming scam and the claims of 10X faster). So what makes you guys really think they would advertise to the everyman reading his morning paper that he can change all of these components of his phone while all he really cares about is how easy it is to use and what color it is?

    Selling iPhones and androids day after day you notice some things about the average consumer of each product.

    iPhone users have the choice between 10 total phones, 4, 4s, 5 in black or white. 5 in 16, 32, 64gb. They would pick a lesser model than what they originally requested just to pick their color. (ex. ask for a white 32gb [would own a nearly full 32gb 4S] and settle on a white 16gb claiming they have iCloud and need to clear up space anyhow)

    Android users majority of the time would be people asking for a smartphone and happen to land on a low end Pantech. The people that came in for a particular model were worse than iPhoners because they would not settle for anything else (ex. they saw online that the s4 active was rumoured so they will not have any other phone until it is released).

    My point in all this is Google wants in on what Apple has. Instead of the current makeup of android users with endless choices and opinions they want the Apple user with just one option that they like. Both users will still be there. The other manufacturers will compete for our dollar but Google seems to be taking this acquisition of Motorola the right direction from a company standpoint. Stop selling to the less frequent tech savvy user and sell to the more common everyman.

  33. Revolutionary Indeed ha ha, what a joke. Changing colors ?

  34. Since I’m still using a Galaxy Nexus, the hardware specs sound amazing to me.. Especially if it’s affordable off-contract

  35. Hopefully this will still come at a great price point like the Nexus 4. If so it helps stick it to American carriers who charge an arm and a leg and lock people down with contracts. I may not end up buying one for myself but my lady needs a phone and might like picking out colors.

  36. people who thought that we would get to pick our own spec like screen size,ram storage,cpu etc were just over reaching hoping for too much, right its just not feasible.

  37. so it can only change the exterior? so what so special about it? my older 3310 nokia can do that just fine.

    anyway i was sure ‘to pick what you like’ for the internal hardware were impossible to begin with.

  38. Meh. “Mid-range” already screams it’ll be a huge flop. Why anyone would buy this when you can get an S4/HTC One for probably the same price is beyond me.

  39. In a world where probably 50 – 75% of people keep cases on their smartphones, color options and engravings seem pretty pointless.

    1. seems yea but you know what you have, plus it will be a color you choose says what you want to say it becomes your devcice, two years ago every phonw was grey then black then white colors other than that was rare and we got used to wear a case to make our phone unquie

  40. Custom color? ok, for the minority that do not use a case.
    Engraving? ok, for a gift or your name, or a cool design.. i get it.
    Why do they include the wallpaper!? It boils my blood that they mention custom wallpapers as if it is something new. Am I missing something? Are the majority of ‘smart’ phone users that ‘dumb’ that they don’t know they can do this already??

  41. It would have been harder for Motorola to support a device that has an almost infinite number of hardware configurations. Hardware manufacturers have a hard enough time with phones that get launched to all carriers where each carrier has required a slight hardware change.

  42. Leave the hardware alone, lest you never get a timely update! HTC released their One X and then One X+ as if people cared and then virtually abandoned the early adopters of the One X. It took almost a year for that phone to get Jelly Bean because they were focused on multiple hardware configurations for the same phone.

    Don’t update the hardware, people don’t care. Just make an amazing phone and sell and support the sh1t out of it for a year, then support the sh1t out of it for another year. That’s how you get loyal customers.

    Oh, and make the battery last 24 solid hours in the hands of a true power-user. My Nexus 4 is fabulous, but the battery life is not. Even without LTE it’s battery life has much to be desired.

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